This new app will change the way you see Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 08:49 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 03 October 2019
The chances are you haven’t heard of Tipll.
Why would you have?
The app, developed in the heart of Suffolk, is yet to launch and announce itself to the world.
But if I was to ask you the same question this time next year, it's likely you will simply show me the app's icon on your phone.
By combining the best features of TripAdvisor, Groupon and yes, even Pokemon GO, Tipll has set itself up as the heir apparent to these mega-successes and the next new app to sweep the globe.
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It uses augmented reality, GPS and Geo Field notifications to help users choose the best spots to eat, drink and explore a new city.
And while that may all sound a bit complicated, in practice it's deceptively simple.
Users will hold up their phone and allow the app to scan their new surroundings.
Through augmented reality the street will jump into the user's phone, providing descriptions, recommendations and deals of what is on offer based on predefined preferences.
"A lot of what we are trying to do is make the whole journey for a user better", founder Grant Thompson explains.
"We've all been in a situation where you get to a new place and you are pretty lost.
"You want know 'where is the best place for food? Where is the best coffee house?' But because of your unfamiliarity you just start gravitating towards chains.
"People are moving towards an experience-based appreciation of a place and we want to help provide a better experience of a city or a better experience of a night out."
Mr Thompson, a former professional rugby player from Durham, first came up with the concept in 2016.
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He jokes that after his 14th broken nose he began to contemplate life after rugby and got into sales before running a group promotions firm.
It was here that he would be constantly bombarded with calls for tips and recommendations from clients on where to go in new cities.
Thompson spotted a gap in the market and dreamed up Tipll.
"I thought there needs to be an app which allows people to see a city based on there own preferences", he explained.
"What you like to eat, what you like to drink, where you like to go - that's how a city should be seen.
"I think a lot of people in the UK are quite hesitant to try new places because they don't know enough information about them - Tipll will open the door for them."
While Tipll has remained true to its original concept, until recently the ex-rugby player had struggled to fully get the concept over the line.
Balancing the pressures of paying his mortgage and supporting his family while growing the business came with its own problems.
"I knocked on a lot of doors to try to get that initial investment sorted but found it difficult because it was just me. Being a sole founder is incredibly tough", he added.
However, since meeting and recruiting Paul Hutton, the Suffolk-based founder of a number of leading software agencies, momentum behind the app has continued to build.
Mr Thompson was subsequently introduced to Paddy Bishopp and Toby Durrant of entrepreneurial hotbed Shout About Suffolk, who loved the concept so much they gave the company an initial seed investment.
In recent months the growing team has secured more than half a million pounds in funding for the app and set up a tech development team in Melton.
"I spent two years being a struggling tech founder in the north east but I could never find the right partnership with tech.
"Then I met Paul, he's got a great knowledge of tech but also a great way of explaining it to a non-technical person."
With an Ipswich launch on the cards for later this year the team are readying to roll out the app globally within the next 18 months.
Mr Thompson added: "There's no way this is just going to be UK-based. Our long term plan is to create a personal concierge service for everyone."
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